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Wine Sun May 12 2013

Gapers Block's Top Picks From Wine Riot 2013

wine riot 2.jpgOver 24 booths set up shop at the Great Hall in Union Station last weekend for Wine Riot Chicago 2013, the "all access pass to hundreds of new wines," pouring one ounce portions of their best poison. Gapers Block "reluctantly" joined the crowd for an evening of sniffing, swirling and tasting.

Inevitably there was more tasting than swirling which somehow lent itself to a night that ended in late night salsa dancing with the "King of Mambo" and crashing college house parties. (What, didn't it say riot in the title?) Below are our top picks to add to your list. Most can be found or ordered at Binny's Lincoln Park (1720 N. Marcy Street).

Reds
2008 Marques de Caceres Crianza($12) -- Spain, Rioja, Rioja Alta
This Rioja never disappoints me, and even at the tail end of a wine tasting, i.e. a dead palette, it's still good and a beauty for the price. If you like your reds more fruit forward, go for the younger 2009. If you like your reds a little older and wiser, try this guy.

2010 Hess Select Treo Winemaker's Blend ($17) -- USA, California
I'm a fan of blends. Maybe because I like unity for all, or maybe because I think that the joining of two or more things makes them stronger than the original. (Bad marriage reference??). This one is 45% Merlot, 37% Syrah, 14% Petite Sirah, 2% Malbec and 2% Mourvedre. (Okay, really weird marriage reference.) Starts off like a Cab; finishes like a Syrah. If you like your reds to squeeze you dry, this one might be too soft for you, but if you like unity in diversity, this is a good call.

2010 The Divining Rod Cabernet Sauvignon ($17) -- USA, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
The name is worth a thumbs up, and it's a great starter red. Not too dry, not too fruit forward, middle of the road. And FYI, nothing's wrong with being middle of the road.

2011 Creation Pinot Noir ($29) -- South Africa, Walker Bay
After my run in with "The Max" at last year's wine riot , I fell in love with South African wines. They are nothing like the fruit forward, cherry bursting Californian's we've all grown to love/or hate. When I saw Pinot Noir on the label I knew I had to see if two loves had converged into grape juice awesomeness. No wedges were knocked off in the process, but I'd buy this bottle for a nice dinner party. It was well balanced and subtle yet robust enough to stand next to any older wine.

Wine Riot 1.jpg

Whites
2011 Simply Naked Pinot Grigio ($9.99) -- USA, California
There's nothing spectacular about this unoaked Pinot Grigio, but it's easy to drink and $10 bucks a pop. Keep it simple.

2011 The Seeker Sauvignon Blanc ($13.99) -- New Zealand, Marlborough
I always give a Sauvignon Blanc coming out of New Zealand first dibs and this one, with an awesome name to boot, was a good SB at a reasonable price. It was also devoid of that familiar SB tartness with a softer yet still crisp palette.

2010 Lynfred Winery Seyval Blanc ($16.25) -- USA, Illinois
This local wine has a nice clean feel to it with both grassy and stone fruit notes -- part SB, part PG, part Riesling -- it's that wine you want to drink on a summer patio when you will be drinking all day.

2011 Hugel Riesling ($22) -- France, Alsace
I dislike a sweet Riesling as much as I dislike a group of North Shore teenagers jumping on the 10:30 Brown line likes it's a field trip bus. (Yes, this happened.) This Riesling was dry, almost as if it were a SB disguised as a Riesling. (Everything opposite of a North Shore teenager.) The region Alsace is the reason. It's a steeper price than I would buy for a Riesling but worth the penny if you have the budget. Also another good patio or byob dinner white.

Bubbly
NV Ninety Plus Cellars Lot 50 Prosecco ($11.99) -- Italy, Veneto
It's hard to go wrong with any Processo in my book. Like the poster girl for summer, this one is cheap and easy. Get this for your next rooftop party and stop buying that other stuff.

Photos courtesy of Second Glass

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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